5- Night Journey
The apostle of Allah said, 'While I was asleep within
the northern enclosure of the Kaba, Gabriel came and kicked me with his
foot. I sat up, but perceived nothing; therefore I again laid myself down.
He came again and the same thing happened again, but when he kicked me the
third time he took hold of my arm, so that I rose and went with him to the
gate of the mosque. And lo! There I saw a beast, white in colour,
resembling part mule and part donkey, with two wings covering its hind
legs, and with its forelegs placed as far as its sight could reach. [This
was Buraq, the animal on which all prophets before Muhammad had been
conveyed.] When I approached the beast to mount, it became restive, but
Gabriel placed his hand on its mane and said, "Art thou not ashamed,
o Buraq? No servant of Allah has yet ridden thee who is more favoured than
Muhammad!" Then the beast became steady, and I mounted it.'
The apostle of Allah, accompanied by Gabriel, was
, where he found Abraham and Moses and other prophets. He went to them and
prayed with them; then two vessels were brought, one containing wine and
the othert milk. The apostle drank of the milk, but touched no wine, and
Gabriel said, 'Thou art guided to the fundamentals of religlion and thy
people likewise; wine is prohibited to them.'
Then the apostle of Allah returned to Mecca, and in
the morning he told the Quraysh what had happened to him; but most of them
exclaimed, 'This is obviously nonsense! Caravans take a month to travel
and another to return! Could Muhammad go there and return in a single
night ?' And many believers lapsed from the faith, and others went to Abu
Bakr and said, 'What is your view concerning Muhammad, who imagines that
he went last night to
, where he prayed, and again returned to
?' Abu Bakr replied, 'If he himself has said so, he spoke the truth! What
is there to astonish you in this? By Allah, he tells me that revelation
comes all the way from heaven to him on earth in a single hour of the
night or the day and I believe him! And this is a greater distance than
the one which astonishes you.' Then he betook himself to the apostle and
to me; I have been there.' The apostle of Allah said, 'It was lifted up to
me so that I might look at it and he described the town in such a manner
that Abu Bakr said, 'You have spoken the truth! I testify that you are an
apostle of Allah!' And every part of the town Muhammad described, Abu Bakr
confirmed, saying, 'You have spoken the truth! I testify that you are an
apostle of Allah!' When he had finished his description the apostle said,
'And thou, o Abu Bakr, art also truthful', and on that day he surnamed him
Assidiq, The Truthful One.
The apostle of Allah was in the habit of saying: 'My
eye sleeps while my heart is awake", but Allah knows best whether
what was revealed to him took place in waking or sleeping state. The
apostle of Allah gave his companions a description of Abraham, Moses and
Jesus, as he saw them during that night. 'As to Abraham, I have never seen
a man more resembling your companion [Muhammad] than he, nor your
companion [Muhammad] resembling any other more than he. But as for Moses,
he is a tall, dark, lively man with curled hair and a long nose; the son
of Mary, is neither tall nor short, with flowing hair, and a countenance
shining as if he had just come out of a bath, and you would imagine that
water is dripping from his head although there is none on it.'
The apostle himself, according to his adopted son,
Ali, 'was neither too tall nor too short, he was of a middling stature;
his hair was neither too curly nor too flowing, it was like the hair of
any other man. He was neither too plump nor too fat, and his complexion
was pale, with a tinge of red. His eyes were large and black, his lashes
long, his head and shoulder‑bones large, and the hair of his breast
was scanty. His hands and feet were strong, he walked as if wading in
water, and when he looked at anything he turned his whole person towards
the object. Between his shoulders was situated the seal of prophecy, he
being the last of the prophets, the most open‑handed of men, the
most courageous, truthful in speech, the most faithful in protection, of
the mildest disposition, and most gracious in converse. Whoever saw him
unawares was awe‑struck, but those who conversed with him loved
him.' Ali concluded, 'I have neither before, nor afterwards, seen the like
But neither the description of
nor of the prophets convinced the people, so Muhammad continued, 'I passed
near a caravan of one tribe in a valley, and the sound of my beast
startled them so that a camel ran away; and I found it and directed them
to it. And when I was in Dajanan I met a caravan of another tribe, and
found the people asleep. They had a covered water vessel which I opened; I
drank the contents, and covered it again as it had been. Their caravan is
now arriving through the pass, led by a dark camel loaded with two bags,
one of which is black and the other reddish‑brown.' The crowd
hastened up to the pass, where the first sight they saw was the camel he
had described. Then they asked the caravan about the water‑vessel,
and were told that the tribe had put it down covered, and full of
water, but although the cover was in the same state when they awoke, the
water was gone. When the second caravan arrived in
they confirmed Muhammad's other story, saying: 'He has spoken the truth.
He did indeed scare us in the valley and a camel ran away, but we heard a
man's voice calling us to it, and we found it.'
The apostle of Allah further said: 'When I had ended
my visit to
a ladder was brought to me, the like of which for beauty I had never seen
before. This is the ladder which the dead yearn to see brought forth [that
they may mount to heaven on the day of the last judgement]. Gabriel made
me ascend this ladder until we arrived at that gate among the gates of
heaven which is called The Gate of the Keepers. Over this, an angel of
angels presides, whose name is Ismail and who commands 12,000 angels each
of whom also commands 12,000. The hosts of Allah are known to Himself
alone! When he took me in Ismail asked: "Who is this, o Gabriel? Has
a prophetic mission been confered upon him?" Gabriel said:
"Yes", and then Ismail congratulated me.
'The angels met me when I entered those heavens which
are closest to earth, and not one addressed
me without smiling and congratulating me, until an angel of the angels met
me who spoke to me and invoked happiness for me as they had done, but
neither laughed nor was pleased like the others. Therefore I asked, ‘O
Gabriel ! Who is this angel who has spoken to me like the others, but
neither smiled nor manifested any signs of as they did?" Gabriel
replied, "If he had ever laughed before, or was destined ever to
laugh in the future, he would have with thee now; but he never laughs; he
is Malik, the keeper of fire." Then I asked Gabriel who is empowered
by Allah to be obeyed in that heaven I now describe to you and who is,
moreover, the faithful servant of Allah, "Wouldst thou order him to
show me the fire?" He said, "Show Muhammad the fires of hell!”
Accordingly Malik removed the cover thereof, and it raged and ascended in
such a manner that I thought it would devour all that I saw. Therefore I
cried, "Order him to confine it again and the angel said,
"Retire!" Then the fire returned to the place it had issued
from, and when he replaced the cover upon it I cannot compare its
disappearance with anything but the falling of the shadow of night.
When I entered the heaven which is next to the earth
I beheld a man sitting therein, to whom the souls of men are delivered.
With some of these he was pleased, and said, "A good soul issued from
a good body." To others, however, he said with a frown on his
countenance, "A wicked soul departed from a wicked body." I
asked, "Who is this?" and Gabriel replied, “This is thy
ancestor Adam, to whom the souls of his progeny are delivered; and if a
faithful soul arrives he is pleased, but when an unbeliever’s soul
passes he is displeased and grieved."
After that I beheld men with lips like the lips of
camels, having their hands filled with lumps of fire which they stuffed
into their own mouths. The lumps of fire issued again from the other end
of their bodies. I asked, "Who are these, o Gabriel?"and he
replied, "These have wrongfully devoured the property of orphans!”
Next I observed men with bellies the like of which I
had never seen, and on the road were crocodiles rushing upon them like mad
camels and driving them into the fire, trampling upon them so that they
could never escape from it. I asked, "Wlio are these, o
Gabriel?" and he replied, "They are usurers."
'After that, I beheld men who had before them nice
plump meat and at their sides foul and putrid meat, but they ate of the
latter and abstained from the former. I asked, "Who are these, o
Gabriel?" and he replied, "They are those who abandon the women
Allah has permitted to them, and go instead to those whom Allah has
prohibited to them." Then I saw women hanging by their breasts and
asked, "Who are these?" .,\ml Gabriel replied, "They are
women who attribute to their husbands children they did not father."
The wrath of Allah is very great towards a woman who introduces into the
family one who does not belong to it, to eat up their plunder and to
observe their nakedness.
'After this, Gabriel took me up to the second heaven,
and it contained the two cousins, Jesus the son of Mary, and John the son
of Zakariah. Then he lifted me to the third heaven where I saw a man with
a countenance like the full moon, and asked, "Who is this, o
Gabriel?" and he replied, "This is thy brother prophet, Joseph
son of Jacob." Next he made me ascend to the fourth heaven, where one
man appeared, and when I asked, Gabriel said, "This is Idris."
Then he raised me to the fifth heaven, which contained an aged man with
white hair and flowing beard. I have never seen an old man more beautiful
than he, and when I asked Gabriel, he said, "This is the beloved of
his nation, Aaron son of Imran." And he raised me to the sixth
heaven, where there was a dark man with a long nose. I asked, "Who is
this, o Gabriel?" and he replied, "This is thy brother Moses,
son of Imran." Then he made me go up to the se\'ciAl heaven, where I
beheld an old man seated on a chair near the roof of the heavenly Kaba,
which is entered daily by 70,000 angels who will not leave it till the day
of the resurrection. I have never seen a man resemble your companion
[Muhammad] more closely, nor your companion resemble anyone more than he.
I asked, "Who is this, o Gabriel?" and he said, "This is
thy ancestor Abraham."
Then Gabriel entered paradise with me, where I saw a
black houri and asked her, "Who art thou?" because she took my
fancy as I perceived her. She said, "I am destined for Zayd b.
Haritha.' Zayd, the freedman
of the apostle, rejoiced at these glad tidings.
According to tradition, Gabriel did not ascend to a
single heaven of the heavens without being asked 'Who is this, o
Gabriel’? ' When he replied, 'Muhammad', he was again asked, ‘Has he
really been sent as a prophet?' Then he was welcomed with, ‘Allah greet
him on the part of his friend and brother.' This lasted till they arrived
in the seventh heaven, where the
Apostle met his Lord, who made fifty daily prayers
incumbent upon him.
The apostle of Allah continued his story. 'Then I
began my return When I passed near Moses, who was a good friend to man, he
asked, "How many prayers have been made incumbent upon thee?"
and I replied, "Fifty prayers every day." Moses said prayer is
heavy, and thy people are weak. Go to thy Lord and ask Him to lighten it
for thee, and for thy people." Accordingly I returned to my Lord
and asked Him to alleviate it for me and for my people. And He deducted
ten. I went away again and passed near Moses, who repeated what he had
said before. So I returned and asked my Lord, who once more deducted ten;
and I we nt
back to Moses, who sent me many times to Allah with the same injunction, until so many prayers were
deducted that only five prayers remained for each day and night. On this
last occas ion, when I
returned to Moses, he repeated his words once more, but I said to him,
"I have gone back to my Lord and asked him so many times that I am
ashamed; therefore I shall do it no more." Nevertheless, whosoever
among you recites these five prayers, believing wholly in their efficacy
and validity, will receive the reward due for the fifty prayers originally
At the season of pilgrimage [AD 622] Musab returned to
with many of the Helpers as well as some idolaters. One who was the
re recorded: 'We went on the pilgrimage and promised to meet the
apostle of Allah at the hillside [al‑Aqaba]. When the agreed night
had set in we kept our errand secret from those of our people who were
idolaters, except from Abdullah b. Amr, the prince. To him we said,
"You are one of our princes and nobles! We fear that as an idolater,
you will hereafter become fuel for the fire!" and we invited him to
accept Islam and told him of our impending meeting with the apostle of
Allah at the hillside. Then he made profession of Islam and came with us
to the meeting. We lay down that night as if to sleep with our people and
baggage, then left silently for the trysting‑place. We travelled
warily and secretly like the sandgrouse, until we reached the pass by the
hillside; there were seventy‑three men of us, and two of our women.
'The apostle of Allah came with his uncle al‑Abbas,
an unbeliever who nevertheless wished to see his nephew conclude a firm
alliance. Al‑Abbas spoke first, saying, "You know that Muhammad
is our kinsman! We have protected him against those of our own people who
oppose him. He enjoys dignity among his people, and protection in his
country; nevertheless, he shuns them and wishes to ally himself with you.
If, therefore you think you can keep your promise and protect him against
his enemies, you may assume the burden you have undertaken; but if there
is any likelihood of your surrendering and abandoning him after he has
gone over to you, then leave him be for he is safer among his own
people." Then we asked the apostle for his opinion and he said,
"I call on you to protect me as you would protect your own women and
children!" A man called al‑Bara then took hold of his hand, and
swore, "We shall protect you against everything from which we protect
our own selves. Accept therefore our allegiance. We are warriors who have
inherited the right to arms."
'This speech was interrupted by Abul‑Haytham,
who said, "We have ties with other men (he meant the Jews) which we
should have to sever. If we do this, and Allah aids you to victory, will
you not return to your own people and abandon us?" The apostle of
Allah smiled and replied, "By no means. Blood is blood, and shedding
is shedding; you belong to me and I to you’.
I shall fight those whom you fight, and I shall be at
peace with him who is at peace with you. Bring me twelve leaders who may
be charged with their people's affairs." And they brought nine men
from the Khazraj tribe and three from the Aus tribe.
The apostle of Allah said to the twelve leaders'
"You are the sureties for your people just as Jesus' disciples were,
and I stand surety for my people." And they agreed.
Al-Abbas asked the people, "Are you aware of the
conditions on which you pledge allegiance to this man? You pledge
yourselves to him, to wage war against all and sundry. If your
possessions should be ruined by misfortune and your nobles slain, and you
should give him up, then you will reap shame in this world and the next.
If, however, you think you can keep your promises in the face of all
misfortune, then it will profit you in this world and the next ."
They replied, "We shall take him even at the risk of losing all
else", and turning to the apostle they asked, "But what will be
our reward if we keep our promise?" He replied, “
" and they said "Stretch forth thy hand", and paid homage.'
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